NEC NP216 Classroom Projector Review
You might not think that the classroom market needs another 2,500-lumen, XGA-resolution DLP projector, but NEC's new NP216 could change your mind. It is loaded with features that many of its competitors lack including mouse control from the remote via an inexpensive adapter. Four signal sources can be connected simultaneously, and with all those connections there is still a monitor loop through connector available. The image quality is stunning, and maintenance cost is low. With a current street price of just over $800, the 5.7 lb. NP216 may not be the lowest cost XGA projector you can find, but its performance makes it a real value.
Brightness and Uniformity: It is not uncommon for projectors to miss their brightness specification by 20% or more, but the NP216 is an exception. With the Hi-Bright Preset selected, our test sample delivered 2,420 ANSI lumens. Other pre-programmed operating modes include Presentation (2,075 lumens), Dynamic (1,365 lumens), Movie (1,015 lumens), Video (950 lumens), and sRGB (750 lumens). Each mode has its own color bias appropriate to its application. Eco mode reduced brightness only 10% in all modes. Brightness uniformity was a respectable 79% with the bottom of the image a little brighter than the top.
Image Size and Position: For a 100" diagonal image, the NP216 must be placed about 14.5 feet from the screen. Image offset is approximately +9" which is fine for cart mounting, but tabletop placement may require some upward angling to get the image where you want it. In that case, there is ±40° of electronic keystone correction available. Elevation is accomplished via a front elevator foot, and the right rear foot is adjustable for horizontal leveling.
Compatibility: The NP216 will accept video signals from 480i to 1080i and data signals from VGA (640x480) to UXGA (1600x1200).
Network Connections and Management: The NP216 has a D-sub 9 connector for remote sensing and control, and it also provides an RJ-45 network connection. With appropriate network protocols established, these connections can control the projector and remotely monitor projector status such as lamp condition and internal temperature. When activated, NEC's Alert Mail can notify maintenance personnel about possible problems.
Fan noise: At 34dB in Normal Mode, the NP216 is a little noisier than some of its competitors. However, Eco mode reduces fan noise considerably. Since the projector can be run in Eco mode with almost no brightness reduction, fan noise is not a problem of consequence.
3D Compatibility: Like many recent DLP projectors, the NP216 is 3D ready via TI's DLP Link™ technology using active shutter glasses and a computer source outputting a 120 Hz frame-sequential 3D signal. The fact that the NP216 is 3D ready does not mean it is compatible with all 3D sources on the market, so if you plan to use the 3D option, ask your dealer about compatibility issues before buying.
Audio Quality: The 7-watt speaker is buzz-free across its volume range, and if you need external amplification, there is a mini-jack audio output whose level can be adjusted from the remote control.
Lamp Life: The lamp in the NP216 is rated at a healthy 3,500 hours in Normal mode and 5,000 hours in Eco mode. A replacement lamp can be purchased from NEC for $179.
Warranty Provisions: NEC provides a 2-year warranty on the NP216, and the lamp warranty is unusually generous. The lamp is covered for 12 months or 500 hours, whichever occurs first.